About Us

The Nonprofit Behind ParentTeen Connect: Committee for Children

Though we’re best known for our innovative SEL-centric programs for schools, Committee for Children is involved in all kinds of initiatives to improve the lives of children. Founded as a nonprofit in 1979 to help victims of child sexual abuse, we continue to advocate for policies and legislation to protect kids and provide equal opportunities for all. Our programs reach more than 14 million students in over 70 countries, and we work tirelessly to make sure all children have a chance to thrive.

ParentTeen Connect is designed by social-emotional learning experts as an at-home, family-engagement resource. This online experience is loaded with videos, resources, and useful advice to help teens and the adults in their lives address hot-button topics. The site complements the Second Step® Middle School Program both as a stand-alone parent resource and in connection with Middle School Program classroom activities.

What’s the Big Idea?

When you’re a parent of young children, there’s an abundance of books, websites, and groups for support, but when your kids get to be teens, finding those same sources of support becomes more challenging. And it’s no secret that raising teens can be a struggle. As a parent, you may even feel like you’re failing while all the other parents have got it handled—which couldn’t be farther from the truth. ParenTeen Connect seeks to normalize the challenges that come with raising teens through interviews with real families—they’re here to show you that you’re not the only ones struggling. ParenTeen Connect also offers research-based, expert advice on real-life issues through a partnership with renowned parenting expert Dr. Laura Kastner. At ParenTeenConnect.org, you’ll find the tools you need to make adolescence less of a struggle and a lot more fun.

Parent Resources - Polaroids of parents and teens

Meet the Expert

Expert Advice logo

Expert Advice videos are a defining component of ParenTeen Connect. After interviewing parents and teens from across the country about the issues that cause conflict in their lives, we asked parenting expert Dr. Laura Kastner for advice on how to tackle these issues and included her perspectives in the Expert Advice videos you’ll find throughout the site.

Dr. Kastner is a clinical psychologist and clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington, and a nationally recognized author and speaker who has appeared on The Today Show, PBS NewsHour, and numerous local TV news programs. Many parents may be familiar with her go-to parenting book, Getting to Calm: Cool-Headed Strategies for Parenting Tweens + Teens. A specialist in adolescent health, Dr. Kastner has authored academic articles on topics such as adolescent sexuality, behavioral medicine, teen suicide, eating disorders, and teaching interviewing skills in primary care. She has received the Distinguished Psychologist Award from the Washington State Psychological Association and been named one of Seattle’s Top Doctors. Dr. Kastner maintains a private practice in Seattle where she treats children, couples, and families. www.laurakastnerphd.com

Meet the Expert
Dr. Laura Kastner
Who is Dr. Laura Kastner?
Dr. Laura Kastner
How did you decide to go into this profession?
Dr. Laura Kastner
A lot of your work focuses on parents and their teens. Why?
Dr. Laura Kastner
What's the most challenging thing about your job?
Dr. Laura Kastner
How would you describe a really good day at work?

What’s unique about teens that parents should keep in mind?

What's Unique About Teens?
Dr. Laura Kastner
Dr. Laura Kastner
Brain Development
Dr. Laura Kastner
Identity Formation

How can parents handle challenging times with their teens?

Handling Challenging Times
Dr. Laura Kastner
What makes parenting a teen so challenging?
Dr. Laura Kastner
Control Emotions and Positive Parenting
Dr. Laura Kastner
Have Realistic Expectations
Dr. Laura Kastner
Pick a Good Time to Talk
Dr. Laura Kastner
Sandwich Approach
Dr. Laura Kastner
If It’s Not Working, Call It


Raising Adolescents: Resources for Parents

Parenting Basics

  • The American Psychological Association website provides resources for parents about common emotional and mental health issues teens experience.
  • The Center for Disease Control website provides “positive parenting tips” for parents of teens.
  • How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success by Julie Lythcott-Haims (2015)
  • Getting to Calm: Cool-Headed Strategies for Raising Tweens and Teens, 2nd Edition by Laura Kastner and Jennifer Wyatt (2009)
  • The Launching Years: Strategies for Parenting from Senior Year to College Life by Laura Kastner and Jennifer Wyatt (2002)
  • Parenting from the Inside Out: How a Deeper Self-Understanding Can Help You Raise Children Who Thrive by Daniel Siegal and Mary Hartzell (2003)
  • Raising Human Beings: Creating a Collaborative Partnership with Your Child by Ross W. Greene (2017)
  • Wise Minded Parenting: 7 Essentials for Raising Successful Tweens + Teens by Laura Kastner with Kristen Russell (2013)

Dating & Sexuality

  • Everything You Never Wanted Your Kids to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid They’d Ask): The Secrets to Surviving Your Child’s Sexual Development from Birth to the Teens by Justin Richardson and Mark Schuster (2003)
  • So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kids by Diane E. Levin and Jean Kilbourne (2009)
  • A Survival Guide to Parenting Teens: Talking to Your Kids About Sexting, Drinking, Drugs, and Other Things That Freak You Out by Joani Geltman (2014)

Eating & Weight Management

  • “I’m, Like, SO Fat!”: Helping Your Teen Make Healthy Choices About Eating and Exercise in a Weight-Obsessed World by Dianne Neumark-Sztainer (2005)
  • Your Child’s Weight: Helping Without Harming, Birth Through Adolescence by Ellyn Satter (2005)

Emotions & Emotion Management

  • The Optimistic Child: A Proven Program to Safeguard Children Against Depression and Build Lifelong Resilience by Martin E. P. Seligman (2007)
  • Parenting a Teen Who Has Intense Emotions: DBT Skills to Help Your Teen Navigate Emotional and Behavioral Challenges by Pat Harvey and Britt H. Rathbone (2015)
  • Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child: The Heart of Parenting by John Gottman and Joan Declaire (1998)

Mindfulness & Mindset

  • Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting by Myla Kabat-Zinn and Jon Kabat-Zinn (1998)
  • The Mindful Brain: Reflection and Attunement in the Cultivation of Well-Being by Daniel J. Siegel (2007)
  • A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook by Bob Stahl and Elisha Goldstein (2010)
  • The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck (2006)

Raising Boys

  • It’s a Boy! Your Son’s Development from Birth to Age 18 by Michael Thompson and Teresa Barker (2008)
  • Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys by Dan Kindlon and Michael Thompson (2000)
  • Real Boys: Rescuing our Sons from the Myths of Boyhood by William Pollack (1999)

Raising Girls

  • Full of Ourselves: A Wellness Program to Advance Girl Power, Health, and Leadership by Catherine Steiner-Adair and Lisa Sjostrom (2005)
  • Odd Girl Out, Revised and Updated: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls by Rachel Simmons (2011)
  • Queen Bees and Wannabees: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boys, and the New Realities of Girl World, 3rd Edition by Rosalind Wiseman (2016)
  • Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood by Lisa Damour (2016)

Resilience & Character

  • Crazy-Stressed: Saving Today’s Overwhelmed Teens with Love, Laughter, and the Science of Resilience by Michael J. Bradley (2017)
  • How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough (2012)
  • Parenting for Character: Five Experts, Five Practices by Diana Baumrind, Marvin W. Berkowitz, et al. (2008)
  • Raising Resilient Children: Fostering Strength, Hope, and Optimism in Your Child by Robert Brooks and Sam Goldstein (2002)
  • The Seven Year Stretch: How Families Work Together to Grow Through Adolescence by Jennifer Wyatt and Laura Kastner (1997)
  • The Yes Brain: How to Cultivate Courage, Curiosity, and Resilience in Your Child by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina P. Bryson (available January 2018)

Risk Taking & Substance Abuse

  • The National Institute on Drug Abuse website offers scientific information about drug abuse and addiction, along with “resources for talking with kids about the impact of drug use on health.”
  • Born to Be Wild: Why Teens Take Risks, and How We Can Help Keep Them Safe by Jess Shatkin (2017)
  • Buzzed: The Straight Facts About the Most Used and Abused Drugs from Alcohol to Ecstasy, 4th Edition by Cynthia Kuhn, Scott Swartzwelder, and Wilkie Wilson (2014)
  • What Are They Thinking?!: The Straight Facts About the Risk-Taking, Social-Networking, Still-Developing Teen Brain by Aaron M. White and Scott Swartzwelder (2013)

Social Development

  • Nurturing the Shy Child: Practical Help for Raising Confident and Socially Skilled Kids and Teens by Barbara Markway and Gregory Markway (2006)
  • The Science of Making Friends: Helping Socially Challenged Teens and Young Adults by Elizabeth Laugeson (2014)
  • Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World by Michele Borba (2017)
  • Your Defiant Teen: 10 Steps to Resolve Conflict and Rebuild Your Relationship, 2nd Edition by Russell A. Barkley and Arthur L. Robin (2013)

Technology & Screen Time

  • The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), a part of the Federal Trade Commission, helps parents protect their children’s privacy online.
  • Common Sense Media is a nonprofit that advises parents on children’s media use.
  • iCanHelpline.org “helps administrators and teachers delete cyberbullying and other content harmful to students.”
  • Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other by Sherry Turkle (2012)
  • The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age by Catherine Steiner-Adair (2013)
  • It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens by danah boyd (2014)
  • Media Moms & Digital Dads: A Fact-Not-Fear Approach to Parenting in the Digital Age by Yalda Uhls (2015)
  • Screen-Smart Parenting: How to Find Balance and Benefit in Your Child’s Use of Social Media, Apps, and Digital Devices by Jody Gold (2014)

Resources for Teens & Families

Bullying Prevention

  • The Committee for Children Bullying Prevention Resources page offers information to help kids and adults “understand what bullying is, who is affected by it, and what you and your community can do to prevent it.”
  • stopbullying.gov is a collection of information and resources from government websites about “what bullying is, what cyberbullying is, who’s at risk, and how you can prevent and respond to bullying.”

Dating & Sexuality

  • Dating Smarts: What Every Teen Needs to Date, Relate or Wait by Amy Lang (2014)
  • GLBTQ: The Survival Guide for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Teens by Kelly Huegel (2011)
  • Spare Me “The Talk”!: A Girl’s Guide to Sex, Relationships, and Growing Up by Jo Langford (2015)
  • Spare Me “The Talk”!: A Guy’s Guide to Sex, Relationships, and Growing Up by Jo Langford (2015)

Health & Wellness

  • Our Bodies, Ourselves “promotes evidence-based information on girls’ and women’s reproductive health and sexuality.”
  • Stay Teen, a website created by Power to Decide, is designed to help teens enjoy life and “avoid the responsibilities that come with too-early pregnancy and parenting.”
  • TeensHealth is “a safe, private place for teens who need honest, accurate information and advice about health, emotions, and life.”
  • Young Men’s Health is “a website for teen guys and young men featuring up-to-date health information.”
  • Young Women’s Health was created to “help teen girls, their parents, educators, and health care providers improve their understanding of normal health and development, as well as of specific diseases and conditions.”

Stress Management

  • A Still Quiet Place for Teens: A Mindfulness Workbook to Ease Stress and Difficult Emotions by Amy Saltzman (2016)